In a letter dated Monday (see here), the Maine Ethics Commission alerted Gov. Paul LePage that his re-election campaign would be fined $5,000 for failing to file a campaign finance report on time.
The report in question is known as a “24-hour-report.” Any time a candidate receives a single contribution of more than $1,000, they must file a report with the state within 24 hours.
The contributions in question — the maximum $3,000 from a supporter in Cape Elizabeth — was received on June 10, but wasn’t reported to the state until July 21. The $5,000 fine is the maximum amount allowed by statute.
“As our campaign finance team was going through the [42-day post-primary] report, filing it, they realized there was an error there,” said LePage’s campaign spokesman, Alex Willette. He said the campaign would seek to have the fine waived at an upcoming Commission meeting.
Penalties for late campaign finance reporting may be waived in the case of a “valid emergency,” an error by commission staff, or because the candidate was somehow not notified of the deadline. LePage could also obtain a waiver if his campaign could show that “a bona fide effort was made to file the report in accordance with the statutory requirements.”
While LePage may be able to meet one of those conditions, commissioners are also likely to consider that the offense is LePage’s third this campaign cycle: The governor was fined twice in June for tardiness in filing two separate 24-hour reports. Those fines totaled $210.